“But Mom, how will Santa know that I won’t be here on Christmas, and I need him to come on another day?”
The question was coming from Anna Friedman’s 8-year-old-daughter Eleanor, and it wasn’t the first time she had asked. Since Anna shares custody with her ex-husband, Eleanor often spends holidays with her dad. And naturally, she wanted to know how Santa would know that she and her mom were going to be celebrating Christmas on a different day.
“I simply told her that I had emailed him. But, just like most parents who want to make a holiday unique and memorable, it just didn’t feel like enough,” Friedman tells Babble.
With over 13 million parents sharing custody of their children in the U.S., Friedman’s daughter is not even close to being the only child celebrating Christmas on an alternate day this year.
“It’s been rolling around in my head for about the last three years that maybe I should do something to make this more believable,” Friedman says of her daughter’s curiosity about an alternate visit from Santa. “And every year, I told myself that I would do something more and then never found the time.”
Until this year.
With a background in building basic websites and a little graphics help from her boyfriend David Huettner, Friedman plunked down $100 for some web space and created Schedule Santa: For Parents Who Need to Reschedule Christmas.
“And being the giving season,” Anna chuckles, “I made this my gift to parents everywhere.”
On Schedule Santa, parents are directed to have their child select an alternate date or location that they need him to visit, and then send him an email to a designated address. Within just a short amount of time, an email is sent back saying that Santa has received the message and will be visiting on the new date or location.
It really is that easy!
“Kids just want to have confidence that Christmas will still happen, even if it’s on a different date,” Friedman explains. And that is so true.
With the site already being visited by users from all across the U.S. as well as China, Ireland, Switzerland, Hungary, and the U.K., kids everywhere will be going to sleep on Christmas Eve feeling reassured that Santa won’t forget about them whenever or wherever it’s time for them to celebrate the holiday.
“I was surprised that it’s not even just divorced kids that worry about Santa missing them,” says Friedman. “As soon as I put up the site, I started hearing about families who were traveling over Christmas and their kids were worried that Santa wouldn’t find them. That’s when I went back and added the alternate location feature.”
In the future, Friedman noted that she’d like to grow the site into something that sends kids a confirmation card that they can hold in their hands. As the parent of a special needs child who often ends up in the hospital unexpectedly, I’ve always dreaded the year when my child won’t be home for Christmas and is left wondering if Santa will miss him.
But now I know that if that question should ever be raised, I will have an answer ready to calm his worried little heart.
Friedman was right when she said that kids just want to be assured that Santa won’t miss them. And as a parent, I’m equally as happy knowing that somewhere on the Interwebs, us parents are all in this holiday magic thing together.